For the second year in a row, and with 23 more votes in support than last year, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to protect state-legal medical marijuana businesses, caregivers, and patients from federal interference and prosecution. With 242 Members of Congress, including more than 65 Republicans, voting in support of an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA), the House once again forbade the use of federal funds to raid, harass, or otherwise interfere with medical cannabis patients or providers in states where medical marijuana is legal.
The 242-186 vote showed significant gains in support over last year's historically successful vote on the same amendment, which totaled 219-189.
"Last year, Congress made history with the first-ever federal protections for medical marijuana caregivers and patients, and NCIA is happy to see that progress continue," said National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith. "This is an issue with overwhelming bipartisan support throughout the nation, and it's good to see that the House recognizes that it should respect the will of the American people in this way."
An additional amendment, proposed by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO), would have extended the same protections to non-medical retail marijuana businesses and consumers in states where adult-use sales have been legalized. The measure narrowly failed, 206-222, with more than 40 Republicans in support.
"We're disappointed that some Members of Congress don't think the principles of respect for state policies and voter mandates should be consistently applied, but we're grateful to Rep. McClintock, Polis, and their co-sponsors for standing up for fairness," said Smith. "We've very proud of the work that NCIA and our allies have done to educate policymakers about the critical need for federal marijuana policy reform, and we'll build on this toward even greater success in the future."